Oh, S***! court of appeal rules on one man's bowel movements and charter rights.

Author:Izadi, Melody

In R. v Poirier [2016] ONCA 582 the Ontario Court of Appeal excluded the drugs excreted from Mr. Poirier's rectum because of the manner of the police investigation that led to its discovery. Without that evidence, Mr. Poirier was acquitted of all charges.

Mr. Poirier was arrested after five confidential informants advised police that Mr. Poirier concealed drugs in his rectum until he made a sale. Police arrested him and obtained a general search warrant that authorized the following: Mr. Poirier was to remain detained by police unless and until he had a bowel movement that was to the satisfaction of the officers, and produced the drugs in question. This meant that every time Mr. Poirier had to use the washroom, he had to advise police, who would monitor and examine his excretions. After over 30 hours of detention, the police were finally satisfied and brought Mr. Poirier to court before a Justice of the Peace the following morning for bail. He excreted only three packages, containing crystal meth, heroin and cocaine.

Problem is, police seem to have forgotten about Section 503 of the Criminal Code of Canada (among other things), which remains fundamental: every person who is arrested must be brought before a Justice within 24 hours of their arrest without unreasonable delay. The Court of Appeal found that the search warrant was invalid on that basis alone: Section 503 is "mandatory and cannot be overridden by the terms of a general warrant."

Also, police did not search Mr. Poirier in a manner that had as little impact as possible on Mr. Poirier's rights and dignities--rights and dignities that are protected by the Charter. Mr. Poirier was strip searched in a room where the door was left open, and the entirety of the search was recorded on camera. He was left in a dry cell thereafter (meaning he had no access to water, a sink or a toilet). He was handcuffed to the bars in the cell. He was detained in this manner for over 21 hours. After 21 hours, his hands were placed in oven mitts, secured by duct tape that was wrapped around his wrists to prevent him from "accessing his rectal area." He was still in handcuffs, though no longer chained to the bars of the cell. He was detained in that position for over eight hours. After those eight hours, he was taken out of the dry cell. His handcuffs were finally removed, but he was held overnight before taken to bail court the next morning.

I hope you are gasping at the outrageousness of such a detention.


To continue reading